Daily Lobo Logo
Rain, 31°F
7 day forecast
Thursday, December 18, 2014

UNM needs specific hazing policy

The language listed in the code of conduct needs to be much clearer with respect to hazing.

Of course there must be camaraderie to create a successful organized group, whether it be a sports team, a work environment or a newsroom. Most, if not all, team-building efforts include some form of initiation process. But it should not be allowed to reach a level of hazing.

These hazing initiations can be as light-hearted as insisting a rookie buy doughnuts and coffee for teammates. Others are harsher, much like the stereotypical tying a football player to the goalpost or, as in a UNM instance, encouraging minors to consume alcohol, forcing them into bras and panties and spraying them with a soapy liquid.

The UNM Athletics Department’s investigation of the women’s soccer team’s alleged hazing incident over the weekend makes it clear that the University needs clearer guidelines on this type of behavior.

UNM’s Student Code of Conduct does not refer to hazing specifically, but Director of University Communication Dianne Anderson said the code covers incidents that could be considered hazing.

Regarding matters subject to disciplinary action the code states:

· Under Section 2.1 – “Actions which have great potential for physically harming the person or property of others, including that of the University, or which actually result in physical harm, or which cause reasonable apprehension of physical harm.

· Under Section 2.5 – “Substantially interfering with the freedom of expression, movement or activity.”

· Under Section 2.15 – “Violation of published or posted University regulations or policies, including but not limited to regulations prohibiting discriminatory activities.”

Anderson said there has been some discussion on campus to highlight this particular infraction. The UNM Student Code of Conduct needs to refer to hazing specifically, and more awareness of the potential dangers of hazing needs to be generated.

Even UNM’s athletic director Paul Krebs acknowledged that his department, to his knowledge, was not aware of issues related to hazing. He classified that as a frustration.

“I don’t want to say we thought we were beyond that, but I think our focus had been on leadership development, on nutrition, on concussion, on life-skill training, on a number of very significant student welfare issues,” Krebs said. “And while we stress leadership and teamwork — a number of things that would preclude hazing — we probably have not focused enough direct attention on hazing.”

We all as students know what it’s like to come onto a sprawling campus community like UNM for the first time. Even those of us from smaller colleges came to UNM with eyes wide, trying to figure out how to navigate our way around.

It is a scary enough transition in its own right. That process should not be made any more difficult. Hazing activities have no place in the workplace, on a sports team, in a fraternity or sorority, on campus, etc. Bottom line, no exception.

That statement should go without saying, but this incident shows that it must be reaffirmed.

J.R. Oppenheim is the managing editor for the Daily Lobo. He also oversees the newspaper’s social media accounts. Contact him at managingeditor@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @JROppenheim.